The President and the Presidency

“Fear” by Bob Woodward is just the latest of a handful of books about the president and the presidency. I suspect, and in fact, I am certain that Woodward recorded his interviews because Woodward is a professional, and he knows the pitfalls of failing to record.

All of the books on the Trump White House agree that at least for the first year, Trump was peripatetic, and he was being stymied at every point. He simply did not understand the role of Federal Judges or their power. He did not understand the limits of Executive Orders. He thought that it was like running his Development company.

It isn’t. Perhaps it should be, but it isn’t. It is sclerotic. Having run a large corporation where there are layers upon layers, at least it functions, because it must. There is an hourly barometer of performance called a stock price, and outside monitors of performance like Hedge Fund managers, and newspaper business writers.

My business was more like Trump’s — I had a “No Cut” contract (meaning I could not be fired,) but unlike Trump I also had a Hold Harmless contract meaning that I could not be held responsible for failure. In effect Trump has something like that also because Impeachment is long and messy, and few in Congress want to go through the mess.

But each organization takes getting accustomed to, with legal, cultural and communications differences. The Learning Curve can be sharp, and EVERY book about this White House has agreed that Trump has been a slow learner. My impression is the General Kelly remains in a job he hates, just out of service to the nation, because he believes Trump is capable of doing something terribly stupid without constant supervision.

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